Tag Archives: Toronto

It’s a Canadian Thing

O’ Canada, land of the First Nations people, the Looney and the red maple leaves.

Home of good friends, good bands and good parties. Where I learned what a dyke was, got my belly button pierced and went drinking at The Keg after dinner at White Spot. Where my cousins introduced me to real maple syrup, maple walnut ice cream and bagels with real salmon.

Land of Arby’s, the Dairy Queen Skor Blizzard, Tim Horton’s and as many flavours of ice tea that you can think of. Home of Totem Poles, Le Chateau, ice wine and the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations I have ever seen.

Downtown Vancouver where you can see steam coming out of a clock in Gastown, pick up some lovely First Nations jewellery on Granville Island and dream of owning a house in West Van on the other side of Lions Gate Bridge.

A city so beautiful that it is blessed with both waterways and a surrounding trio of snow capped mountains. Where you can go tubing on Mt Seymour followed by a dip at Kits beach. Where you can walk the wires in Lynn Canyon by day and see the twinkling city lights from Grouse Nest restaurant by night.

The city which has one of the best aquariums in the world in one of the best parks in the world. Where I fell in love with otters, white Beluga whales and Canada Geese. Where I discovered UBC, the Pitt Pub and the mosh pit at Arts County Fair.

Vancouver Island, home of the capital of Victoria, the Empress Hotel and China Beach. Where a trip through the Gulf Islands becomes an adventure in killer whale spotting and you never want to leave.

Seeing snow banks bigger than houses, making snow angels and going tobogganing. Discovering the real beauty of snow covered fir trees, the taste of hot toddies and learning how to snow plough.

Taking a trip on the Sea to Sky highway to go skiing at Blackcomb, only to find out that Big White’s better. Staying in a real log cabin, drinking with folks from the Yukon and meeting American snowboarders at Mt Baker.

Land of moose, black bears and a white rock a stones throw away from Seattle.

And that’s just the west coast.

The enchanting Casa Loma in Toronto, the icy blue Niagara Falls and the unexpected beauty of Niagara on the Lake.

Where you can dance with a cowboy in Calgary, find out what a cold nose really is in Saskatoon and go ice-skating inside West Edmonton Mall.

And I know there is so much more to explore.

Montreal, Quebec City and Lake Louise. New Foundland, Christina Lake and the Rockies.

One day…

Related posts: New Year’s Eve on the Island, 2007, Christmas in Canada, 2007, Canada, 2005, Canada, 2002, Canada 1997-1998, Canada, 1997, Canada, 1990

Canada, 2005

From New York, I flew to Toronto to continue my obsession with water falls with a trip to Niagara Falls.

But first it was off to the CN Tower with its disconcerting glass floor and birds eye view over Skydome and the rest of Toronto.

I saw Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto sculpture garden and the historic houses of Campbell House and Osgood Hall.

My favourite place was Casa Loma in the Dupont district. Inside the castle had marble walls and Victorian style furniture. I loved the church windowed conservatory and the intriguing secret passageways like the one in the study and the tunnel to stables. The view of the beautiful gardens and Toronto from the top was great.

I headed to the fashion district to seek out Le Chateau. Together with the Big Moose in downtown Toronto, it made me nostalgic for Vancouver.

The next day I headed out from the hostel on my pre booked tour to Niagara Falls. We stopped at a view point to see the enormous Niagara River that feeds the falls and in the lovely little town of Niagara on the Lake. One cute little blue house in particular caught my eye and I further fed my Vancouver nostalgia with a maple walnut ice cream.

Niagara Falls was blue and tall. The American side does not have the famous horseshoe falls, so I was glad to be on the Canadian side. At the lookout point for the rapids at top of horseshoe falls I shuddered to think of going over in a barrel. I went through a tunnel behind the falls to hear the roaring noise and get a few splashes, but thought better of taking a ride on the Maid of the Mist as I was still recovering from my Iguazu Falls cold.

I couldn’t help but compare the two sets of falls- one earthy coloured and natural, the other ice blue and commercial, but both beautiful in their own right.

A shot of ice wine on the obligatory stop at a local wine shop on the way back, helped to clear my head as well as my sinuses.

On my flight to Los Angeles on route back home, I got a clear view of Grand Canyon. Yes, I would have to return to this side of the world one day soon to see that.

Related posts: New York, 2005, Part 2: Sex and the City style!, New York, 2005, Part 1: Taking a bite, Argentina, 2005, Buenos Aires, 2005, Canada, 2002, Canada, 1997-1998, Canada, 1997, Canada, 1990